What's New in Call Center Testing and CRM


What's New in Call Center Testing and CRM

By Rich Tehrani, CEO, Group Editor-in-Chief, TMC  |  November 12, 2013

One of the challenges call center managers have is testing their systems when deploying new solutions or modifying existing ones. As the most crucial link to many customer interactions, the contact center can play a pivotal role in keeping customers happy, continuing to recommend a company and keeping them coming back for more.

To learn more, I sat down with Lynn Evans, who is an independent systems engineer deploying call center solutions. In the past she has worked for banks such as Franklin Templeton Investments and Wells Fargo. She brought me up to speed on a testing company she is working with called Cyara Solutions. According to Evans, “The solution costs less than other tools – you can buy it for less than the cost of renting from the competition.” She went on to explain that using Cyara’s solutions allowed her QA team to focus more on intelligent evaluation rather than grunt work.

Other salient comments she made were that with this system she can test 100 percent of changes not just a fraction of them. This resulted in a deployment time of one-day instead of up to eight weeks using other systems, she said.

The company’s CMO Dan Nordale (News - Alert) told me the company is relaunching the brand and thinks it is poised for significant growth in the future. The company seems to have a nice niche in banking as the company says nine of the top 20 banks are using it so far.

In addition to better contact center solutions, companies in recent years have moved to offer better customer service and better internal results by more broadly embraced contact management solutions, now more commonly known as CRM systems.

When this magazine started covering the contact management space in 1982 there were precious few choices of technology to use – typically, most companies used index cards to manage their contacts. Shortly thereafter Salemaker became a wildly popular program, which ran on PCs when floppy disks were the way to install software. Then Telemagic came onto the scene and took the world by storm.

In the mid to late eighties, SCO UNIX became ever so popular and Brock Control became the most widely used contact management app of its day running on this platform – quickly taking share from software that ran on minicomputers from companies like IBM (News - Alert).

All three of these companies fizzled out just before Siebel Systems came onto the scene in the nineties by popularizing the term CRM and effectively making contact management seem like it was a legacy solution. Oh, and it’s SuperBowl ad didn't hurt either. Oracle (News - Alert) bought the company some years later and rolled up much of the CRM space, and then Salesforce.com came out with a cloud-based architecture that differentiated the company from the rest of the field.

This is a dramatic simplification of the market, but the point you should take away is that contact management/CRM is a dynamic market with new players eclipsing old ones almost constantly.

That’s all I could think about when I spoke with Pipeliner (News - Alert) CEO Niklaus Kimla.

The company’s system is designed by salespeople for salespeople. It is written in Adobe Air – it is cloud-based but also works when the data connection has slowdowns and other issues. It is graphical, and it was built to work with social. It is also target-based so salespeople can see where they are relative to where they need to be. They can also graphically see the buying team in a target company – the reports and the dotted lines between buying teams.

Kimla thinks his solution is a game changer and that “CRM sucks for sales.” Salespeople are entrepreneurs, but they are generally not treated as such, he said. He believes that his company’s software can help salespeople improve and more importantly allow them to collaborate to close sales more successfully as a team. In other words, it is successful at pairing strong closers with lead gatherers.

He showed me the company’s latest update feature called Timeframe, which is designed to track pipeline velocity. In addition it is designed to better integrate marketing and sales. The new release also allows mass updates, and has tighter integration with Microsoft Office and numerous cloud and marketing platforms such as Google (News - Alert) Drive, Hubspot, Constant Contact and more.

Kimla was certainly enthusiastic about his company’s prospects in the space and spoke at length off-the-record of the company’s many successes competing with other established CRM players. It will be fascinating to watch how the company does over time and if it becomes the household name in the CRM space in the future.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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